Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II

Collect resources. Build up your base. Climb the tech tree. Collect more resources. Pump out a ton of upgraded units and overwhelm the AI with an unstoppable army. Rinse, repeat, and you’ve got yourself a single-player campaign. That’s the way Dune II did it back in 1992. That’s the way StarCraft did it in 1998. And that’s the way the original Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War did it in 2004.

The formula seems to have worked pretty well so far. But Relic Entertainment isn’t interested in kowtowing to tradition with Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II. It’s amputated everything it found tiresome about the RTS genre with a bloody chain saw sword, focusing on what it loves with the fine precision of an Eldar splinter rifle.

Above: Relic’s trying to distill their favorite elements from the RTS genre by focusing on fewer units in the single-player campaign

Gone are the laborious resource-gathering chores, the base building, and the legions of faceless cannon-fodder units. Instead: shorter missions, active cover mechanics and abilities, and controlling an elite set of squads that you’ll know on a first-name basis.

You’ll begin with a single Force Commander from the Space Marines’ Blood Raven chapter, cruising space in the Strike Cruiser Armageddon (your battle barge and home base for managing squads and selecting missions). Our first assignment dropped us on Calderis, helping Captain Davian Thule stave off an Ork invasion. On the surface, we were shoulder-deep in greenskins, so I jammed a hotkey to activate the “To Victory” skill. The Force Commander’s power armor crashed through the fray, stunning the space Orks. It felt like something you’d expect from a barbarian or an MMORPG tank, especially as the kills filled my experience bar.

Above: If you like cutesy Orcs that say “dabu” and “zug zug,” stick with Warcraft. DoW 2’s greenskins wield giant weapons and scream “WaaaAAAaaagh!”

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  • Akiira - December 3, 2008 6:36 a.m.

    lol no ig suck, space marines ftw but seriously ig are cool to
  • PCG_Evan - November 25, 2008 12:28 a.m.

    Excitin'. As someone that tends to ignore RTS campaigns, I'm really drawn to the sense of persistence and reward Relic's promised for DoW II.
  • Akiira - November 24, 2008 6:48 a.m.

    i played Necromunda and the fantasy version mordheim, both awsome games and would make sweet pc games tho prolly not popular enough to warrant making a game out of them sadly enough.
  • Weasel - November 21, 2008 10:33 a.m.

    From the sounds of it so far only the Space Marines will have a single player campaign, much like the original DoW. And much like that game, I imagine other factions will get some sort of campaign in expansions. Still, looks pretty cool so far.
  • ReaperOfDarkness - November 21, 2008 3:52 a.m.

    thank god im a subscriber :) I for one am a huge fan of the 40k universe I play the tabletop and i even have the pen and paper rpg.Ive read over 20 of the novels. Despite being a fanboy I think this game will be very good I like what they are doing I just hope that the campaign will be suitably long.
  • hun23 - November 21, 2008 1:47 a.m.

    I'm so looking forward to this. When did Tyler Nagata become a member of PC Gamer us, or it that just a typo?
  • Yourself - December 3, 2008 4:10 a.m.

    I hope they have the Imperial Guard.
  • fallofasiankind - December 1, 2008 3:10 a.m.!!!
  • Jbo87 - November 21, 2008 3:10 p.m.

    This game does look rather damn good. Anyone know the PC specs to run this, my lappy's o.k. but not really a hardcore gaming rig. I love the fact that the game is moving to a unit based system. always preferred strategy games that take this approach. Like Battle March, that was brilliant imo, reminded me of Dark Omen for the PS1. True classic.
  • GamesRadarTylerNagata - November 21, 2008 4:21 a.m.

    Did you ever play Necromunda Reaper? I'd really love to see a good PC title based on that old Warhammer game.
  • GamesRadarTylerNagata - November 21, 2008 3:36 a.m.

    I'm glad you're looking forward to this game hun23. From what I've seen so far, I don't think you'll be disappointed. I wrote this preview for PC Gamer. The full version of the preview will appear in their January issue with some additional information and some sweet images that you haven't seen yet.
  • Deathcon56 - November 21, 2008 12:47 a.m.

    First, This looks epic
  • Spybreak8 - December 15, 2008 6:54 a.m.

    me wants, soooo much.

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